Preparing for School: Visual Stress Test & Colorimetry Assessment

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Back to school preparations may seem an age away, but with the start of a new term creeping ever closer now is the perfect time to think about equipping your kids with their most important educational tool… healthy vision.

Your child’s eyes are responsible for absorbing vast amounts of information, yet a shocking 1 in 5 kids suffer from an undiagnosed visual problem.  These issues can have colossal consequences to a child’s future success – particularly if they suffer from dyslexia; affecting their reading, concentration, self-esteem and resulting in a multitude of problems including migraines, eye strain and exhaustion.

All these symptoms and associated problems could be prevented with a visual stress test and colorimetry assessment, which assesses suitability for coloured overlays and dyslexia glasses.

What is visual stress?

Visual stress – also known as Meares-Irlen Syndrome – affects around 20% of the British population and occurs when the visual cortex of the brain is overstimulated due to sensitivity to visual patterns.  The condition can cause extreme difficulty with reading, causing text to blur and jump around the page, letters to change shape and size, and swirling patterns to appear around words.  Facing such obstacles, it’s easy to see why children suffering from visual stress quickly become tired and frustrated when confronted with books or computer screens.

Children can often start rubbing their eyes, lost concentration and become frustrated when trying to read with Visual Stress
Children can often start rubbing their eyes, lost concentration and become frustrated when trying to read with Visual Stress

Those with learning difficulties are particularly susceptible, with symptoms of visual stress particularly common in children with dyslexia, dyspraxia, photosensitive epilepsy, autism and ADHD.  For children diagnosed with dyslexia, reading can pose issues in the classroom, but if visual stress is identified and treated in the early stages, these problems can be much easier to manage.

Visual stress is undetectable by a standard eye test, so at the Optical Studio we offer a specialist visual stress test using a colorimetry assessment to diagnose and treat the condition with precision tinted overlays or tinted dyslexia glasses.

What are coloured overlays?

Coloured overlays are sheets of transparent plastic that can be placed over text to improve your child’s reading accuracy and speed, and enable longer periods of reading free from the discomfort of Meares-Irlen Syndrome.

coloured overlay assessment farnham pimlico virginia water
Coloured Overlays for Reading

It is believed that many people with visual dyslexia suffer reading problems due to a disrupted connection between the eye’s retina and the brain’s visual cortex.  A precision tinted overlay works by re-calibrating visual signals as they pass through the eye into the brain, making it much easier to process text.

What are dyslexia glasses?

If your child experiences significant improvements when reading with coloured overlays, they may benefit from precision tinted dyslexia glasses.

precision tinted glasses meares irlen syndrome
Precision tinted glasses for Meares-Irlen Syndrome

These spectacles incorporate a unique tint for improved reading ability without the need for overlays.  Precision tinted lenses can also help relieve and even prevent severe headaches induced by the condition.  Many of our patients experience a complete transformation of their reading ability and confidence when wearing dyslexia glasses.

All our precision tinted lenses are made from CR39 plastic and dyed to an extraordinary level of accuracy and each pair comes with a certificate of authenticity. This certificate can be presented at your child’s school to authorise them using special glasses whilst studying.

How does a colorimeter work?

Before the visual stress and colorimetry assessment, our highly qualified optometrists will carry out a full eye examination to check for any underlying medical conditions that could be skewing the results.  Spectacles and vision-training exercises may be prescribed, but if symptoms persist we’ll need to carry out an overlay assessment with an intuitive colorimeter.

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So how does a colorimeter work?  Optimal tints vary for each individual, so our specialist screening uses a state-of-the-art colorimeter to pinpoint individual colour preferences from thousands of combinations.  During your appointment, our optometrists will guide you through the process of selecting the ophthalmic tint that most reduces discomfort and distortion when reading text under different coloured light conditions.

You’ll spend around 30 minutes with the colorimeter as we systematically examine the effects of different colour tints, hue, saturation and brightness.  During the test, one colour combination may trigger an immediate improvement in the appearance of text – this is your bespoke tint.  Tinted trial lenses help us assess their effectiveness under normal light conditions before your precision tinted dyslexia glasses are produced in a specialised laboratory.

Book now

So, if you or your child are experiencing the symptoms of Meares-Irlen Syndrome, book a Visual Stress and Colorimetry assessment with The Optical Studio to transform your reading experience ahead of the new school term.